What is a qualified investor? Definition, privileges and requirements

To be considered accredited, an investor must meet one of the SEC’s financial or professional requirements.

What is a qualified investor?

An accredited investor is a person or organization recognized by the SEC as financially sophisticated enough to buy and sell unregistered securities and other complex financial instruments not available to typical investors.

Examples of such investments include hedge funds, structured investments, and venture capital offerings from startups. These types of investment vehicles are not regulated to the same degree as stocks, bonds and other traditional publicly traded securities, so the SEC limits them to a particular class of investors who, in theory, require fewer protections. than the lay investor.

To become an accredited investor, a person must meet certain income, net worth, or occupational requirements. Businesses, nonprofits, and other entities must also meet certain requirements to be accredited.

What can accredited investors do that ordinary investors cannot?

By becoming accredited, investors gain access to certain securities that offer higher upside potential and much higher risk than those available to the rest of the market. Three common examples include hedge funds, private/commercial real estate, and startups that offer private equity.

Hedge funds

Hedge funds are similar to mutual funds in that they involve a fund manager pooling money from clients to invest in a professionally curated portfolio of securities. Unlike most mutual funds, however, hedge funds use advanced trading techniques such as short selling, hedging, and the use of leverage to increase returns. For this reason, they are much riskier than mutual funds and generally charge much higher fees.

Private and commercial real estate

Ordinary investors can buy real estate, but they generally cannot invest in commercial or private real estate projects or funds. Accredited investors can invest in these types of projects directly or through REITs that allow them exposure to income-generating private and commercial properties.

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TheStreet Dictionary Terms

Startups (angel investment)

When young start-ups that aren’t publicly traded need to get venture capital, they turn to “angel investors,” who are accredited investors interested in buying private equity into companies. unproven but promising in the hope that they will grow, become successful and generate significant returns.

Why is accreditation required to invest in certain securities?

The SEC restricts trading in the securities described above (among others) to accredited investors for two main reasons.

First, because most of these investment vehicles carry some risk, the SEC wants those who invest in them to have a high enough net worth to withstand the potentially substantial losses they could incur. Second, the SEC wants to ensure that anyone getting into the more complex financial instruments available to accredited investors has sufficient financial education and experience to do so with confidence.

What are the requirements to be an accredited investor?

To be considered an accredited investor, an individual or entity must meet one or more of the financial or professional standards outlined by the SEC.

What types of people can be accredited investors?

In order to qualify as an accredited investor, a person must . . .

  • Have a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding the value of the principal residence);
  • Have an annual income of $200,000 or more ($300,000 or more for the couple) for two years with the same expected income for the current year;
  • Be an investment professional with a Series 7, Series 64, or Series 82 license;
  • Be an officer or partner in a company selling unregistered securities; ;
  • Be a “family client” of a “family office” that qualifies as an accredited investor; Where
  • Be a knowledgeable employee of a private fund.

What types of organizations can be accredited investors?

In order to qualify as an accredited investor, an entity must . . .

  • Hold investments greater than $5 million;
  • Be a corporation, partnership, LLC, trust, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, employee benefit plan, or family office with assets greater than $5 million;
  • Be an entity in which all shareholders are accredited investors;
  • Be an investment adviser (SEC-registered, state-registered, or exempt) or SEC-registered broker-dealer; Where
  • Be a bank, savings and credit association, insurance company, registered investment company, business development company, small business investment company or business investment company rural.

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